Hitchin woman calls on volunteers to help transform overgrown plot into vibrant and lively garden project

Lea Ellis is urging people who think they may be able to spare some time to help transform the plot

Lea Ellis is urging people who think they may be able to spare some time to help transform the plot of land into a social and interactive outdoor space. - Credit: Archant

Volunteers are being called upon to help transform a weed-ridden former vegetable patch in St Paul’s Walden into a vibrant, lively and interactive outdoor space.

Even on a wet day there is plenty to do at the Within The Walls Garden Project near Whitwell.

Even on a wet day there is plenty to do at the Within The Walls Garden Project near Whitwell. - Credit: Archant

The Within The Walls Garden Project began in April this year when Caroline Langley, leader of the Herts-based outdoor learning initiative Down the Woods forest school, seized the opportunity for a new venture with Lea Ellis, from Hitchin, at its helm.

Former youth worker Lea said: “Our vision is to transform the plot into a social and educational space for young and old alike.”

The walled garden, which covers an acre and makes up part of the Bowes-Lyon estate near Whitwell, has been leased to the project by owners Frances Harris and Fergus Lyon.

“We intend to grow vegetables, wild flowers and herbs, have a wildlife pond and grassed areas for workshops, play, story-telling and craft skills,” said Lea.

Stevenage-based Neilson went along for a corporate volunteer event at the garden project.

Stevenage-based Neilson went along for a corporate volunteer event at the garden project. - Credit: Archant


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“We hope to offer sessions to suit everyone and hope that by bringing people together from different backgrounds, cultures and age groups we can share ideas and skills, and together create some new memories.”

“At the moment we have a large area of weeds that we need to clear, but we are very optimistic – you could get overwhelmed by it but our vision is so inspiring we really believe in what we have and what the land could be. It’s perfectly achievable with time and perseverance.”

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Lea is looking for enthusiastic volunteers with jobs ranging from watering, weeding and planting, to building compost heaps and building and painting sheds, and she said they could also do with a volunteer who has a tractor and plough.

Lea, who is also hoping to apply for funding, is urging people who think they could spare some time to go along, have a cup of tea and a chat, and see what they think.

For more information contact Lea on 07949 668518, email her via lea.ellis@withinthewalls.org or search ‘Within the Walls Garden Project’ on Facebook.

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